MotoGP 2022
Round 19

Marquez Fired Up For Penultimate MotoGP Race of 2022

my Sepang International Circuit

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) goes into this weekend’s penultimate race of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship still buzzing from his brilliant second place in last Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

Marquez Fired Up For Penultimate MotoGP Race of 2022

The 29-year-old Spaniard played a starring role in a thrilling multi-rider battle royal at Phillip Island to take the chequered flag just 0.186 seconds behind the race winner.

The result was particularly noteworthy: not only because it was the six-times MotoGP king’s 100th podium in the class but because it was the first since he underwent a fourth operation on the upper right arm he broke in 2020. This latest surgery seems to have fixed what had been a troublesome injury, because Marquez can once again fight for victory and can also save front-end slides – an important skill – with his right elbow, which he couldn’t do before the operation.

Marquez expects this weekend’s 19th race of the 20-race season to be more of a challenge. Unlike Phillip Island, Sepang is a clockwise circuit and he is still working to get his right arm back to full strength. And yet few riders can create magic speed like Marquez, so there’s every chance he will be up the front again.

This is the first Malaysian MotoGP round since 2019, when Marquez took second place, two weeks after securing his sixth MotoGP crown in Japan. Marquez has won three Grand Prix races at the track, situated south of the capital, Kuala Lumpur: the 2014 and 2018 MotoGP races and the 2010 125cc race.

While Marquez is rebuilding his strength, so too is Honda, which has equipped his RC213V with several new upgrades at recent races, including a new design of swingarm and a revised aerodynamics package. All of this work is focused most of all on 2023, when Marquez and Honda aim to fight to regain the MotoGP title.

Team-mate Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) led home the second group at Phillip Island, taking 11th place, his best result of recent races, following a challenging few months. The 31-year-old Spaniard left Australia happy with his race pace, which would have got him a better result if he had been a bit faster in qualifying. Instead he had to start the race from the fifth row of the grid.

Espargaro has enjoyed some success at Sepang – he stood on the Moto2 podium in 2011 and 2013 and also made the top three twice when he was in 125s. In 2009 he finished third and he was second in 2010, when he was beaten only by Marquez.

The last time Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) – and the rest of the MotoGP paddock – visited Sepang was one of the greatest days of his career. In November 2019 he finished second in the Malaysian Moto2 race to clinch that year’s Moto2 World Championship. This was his second world title, to add to the Moto3 crown he won in 2014, aboard a Honda NSF250RW.

Moto2 success won Marquez his place in MotoGP, in which he has so far scored two podium results. At Phillip Island the 26-year-old Spaniard was having arguably his best ride of 2022, in the midst of the lead pack, when he tangled with Jack Miller, putting them both out of the race. For this mistake he has been sanctioned with a long-lap penalty, to be served this Sunday.

That will add a further challenge to his weekend, during which he will have to learn his way around Sepang aboard a MotoGP bike, which has more than twice the horsepower of a Moto2 bike.

Tetsuta Nagashima (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) will replace Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) for the third race in a row this weekend. Nakagami is still recovering from surgery to his right hand, to fix injuries sustained at last month’s Aragon GP in Spain.

Honda MotoGP test rider Nagashima is doing sterling work as his countryman’s replacement, giving his team and Honda lots of feedback and data for the ongoing development of the RC213V. The 30-year-old from Kanagawa finished 19th at Phillip Island. His best result at Sepang, during his Moto2 career, was an eighth place in 2019.

Malaysia hosted its first World Championship motorcycle Grand Prix in 1991, when the event was held at the little Shah Alam circuit, which no longer exists, the area having been swallowed up by the outward spread of Kuala Lumpur.

The event moved to Sepang in 1999 and has remained at the track ever since. The combination of circuit layout and hot and steamy tropical weather make this one of MotoGP’s toughest events. The circuit itself is fast and open, with plenty of fast, dramatic action.

Honda riders have won numerous MotoGP victories at Sepang: Valentino Rossi (Nastro Azzurro Honda NSR500, 2001; Repsol Honda RC211V, 2003), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V, 2012, 2013 and 2015) and Marquez (2014 and 2018).

Following Sunday’s second Grand Prix on consecutive weekends the MotoGP circus returns to Europe for the season finale at Valencia, Spain, on 6th November.

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez 93
Repsol Honda Team
We arrive in Malaysia having enjoyed a really beautiful race in Phillip Island, but we have to keep working. Australia is a unique track so we can’t expect to be fast straight away and we always see everyone very strong in Sepang because there is a lot of data from the tests. As always it’s about arriving to the track, testing some things and seeing what the situation is. The recent results are a big motivator for me and the team, so now is the time to keep working and end the season as well as we can.

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro 44
Repsol Honda Team
Malaysia was a track where we were really strong at the start of the year, in testing our pace was one of the best there. But the situation in MotoGP has changed and we will need to work a lot to be strong here again this weekend. We are able to reach a good level quite quickly in the weekend it seems but we need to work on making this next step to stay with the top ten to ensure we can be there when it counts. 

Alex Marquez
Alex Marquez 73
We come to Sepang from a really good and solid weekend in Australia, with a really good performance, which is really important. We didn’t show our potential on Sunday, so we have we have to keep going. When you come from a crash you always look forward to starting the next weekend and forgetting the crash. We will have work hard for every weather condition, because the conditions change really fast in Malaysia, so you never know whether it will be dry or wet. Of course we have to do the long-lap penalty on Sunday, so we will practice that in free practice. I’m looking forward to starting, to giving my 100% as always and trying to make a solid weekend, like we did in Australia. 

Tetsuta Nagashima
Tetsuta Nagashima 45
I’m really happy to join the MotoGP grid again in Malaysia. I know we have a lot of work to do, so this is a good opportunity to keep working hard and get more information for bike development and for my riding style. I want to thank the LCR team and HRC. Once again, I’m really happy to ride another MotoGP weekend! 

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